WHEREAS, the proposed Pennsylvania Standby Guardianship Act attached to this Resolution provides for the creation of a legal procedure that will allow a terminally-ill parent to designate a trusted relative or other caretaker to stand by and be available to act as a child's legal guardian immediately upon the parent's incapacity or death;

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania faces a rapidly unfolding child custody crisis that current legal options do not address, as children throughout the state are losing their parents to cancer, AIDS and other catastrophic illnesses without any legally viable plan in place for their future care;

WHEREAS, current custody planning options for families dealing with terminal illness--including wills, court-appointed guardianship, and powers of attorney--have serious drawbacks and are simply not realistic options for the designation of a guardian;

WHEREAS, families will be able to use standby guardianship to make long-term plans or to immediately designate a guardian in an emergency using a simple legal form, easing the burden on children, parents, caregivers and the court system;

WHEREAS, standby guardianship legislation has been adopted by eight states throughout the nation, and is currently under consideration in several other states;

WHEREAS, standby guardianship will keep children out of foster care, providing them with placements that ensure stability and permanency, and retain family ties and traditions, while saving the state resources and funds;

WHEREAS, standby guardianship gives all parties involved--children, parents and caregivers--peace of mind that children will be cared for by someone they know and trust;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports enactment of a standby guardianship law in principle;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and the Legislative Liaison Committee take all appropriate action to seek the enactment of this proposed legislation.

ADOPTED: April 24, 1997

These materials are available from the Philadelphia Bar Association upon request.